Micah 6:4
For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.
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(4) For I brought thee up.—There seems a pause intended; but Israel, abashed, remains silent. So the Lord continues to plead: “Thou dost not testify against me? No; for I showed thee the greatest mercies: I redeemed thee out of Egypt, the house of bondage.” Moses, Aaron, and Miriam are mentioned as the three great members of the family to whom it was committed to carry out the Divine decree.

6:1-5 The people are called upon to declare why they were weary of God's worship, and prone to idolatry. Sin causes the controversy between God and man. God reasons with us, to teach us to reason with ourselves. Let them remember God's many favours to them and their fathers, and compare with them their unworthy, ungrateful conduct toward him.For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the hoarse of servants - What wert thou? What art thou? Who made thee what thou art? God reminds them. They were slaves; they are His people in the heritage of the pagan, and that by His outstretched arm. God mentions some heads of the mercies which tie had shown them, when He had made them His people, His redemption of them from Egypt, His guidance through the wilderness, His leading them over the last difficulty to the proraised land. The use of the familiar language of the Pentateuch is like the touching of so many key-notes, recalling the whole harmony of His love. Moses, Aaron, and Miriam together, are Lawgiver, to deliver and instruct; Priest, to atone; and prophetess Exodus 15:20 to praise God; and the name of Miriam at once recalled the mighty works at the Red Sea and how they then thanked God. 4. For—On the contrary, so far from doing anything harsh, I did thee every kindness from the earliest years of thy nationality.

Miriam—mentioned, as being the prophetess who led the female chorus who sang the song of Moses (Ex 15:20). God sent Moses to give the best laws; Aaron to pray for the people; Miriam as an example to the women of Israel.

Look as far back as thy coming out of Egypt, near seven hundred and forty years agone;

for I brought thee up, with an out-stretched arm, out of the land of Egypt, where by servants thou wert oppressed, where thy oppressors did plot thy utter extirpation, where thou servedst in the iron furnace.

Redeemed thee; delivered thee by mighty power, and gave Egypt for thy ransom; I made them pay dear for their detaining thee, and ill using of thee.

Out of the house of servants; being offspring of Canaan, they were in their father’s curse doomed to be servants, and were (as servile minds are) most barbarously cruel to Israel, as appears by the bloody edict against the male children, and by requiring brick without straw; their bondage was a cruel bondage under which they groaned.

I sent before thee Moses; a man excellently qualified to be a conductor to them, a very learned, martial, and experienced man; he improved his forty years by the advantages of a royal education first, and next by the great employments which such persons are called to: for his wisdom and learning, his might and valour, you have witness, Acts 7:22; the Hebrew tradition is, that he fought and got many battles, in which he commanded as generalissimo for Pharaoh. Moses was beside this admitted to extraordinary consults with God: by this means their model of polity was made very exact.

Aaron; a person called to the exercise of the highest office in the priesthood, to offer sacrifice, and make atonement for the sins of the people, and to be a type of the great Intercessor.

Miriam; a prophetess, to be assistant to her brothers last mentioned, to be example and counsellor to the women: God furnished them with magistrate, priest, and prophet.

For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt,.... Instead of doing them any wrong, he had done them much good; of which this is one instance, and he was able to produce more: this a notorious, plain, and full proof of his goodness to them, which could not be denied. It may be rendered, as it is by some, "surely I brought thee up" (s), &c. this is a certain thing, well known, and cannot be disproved; it must be allowed to be a great favour and kindness to be brought up out of a superstitious, idolatrous, Heathenish people, enemies to God and true religion, and who had used them in a barbarous and cruel manner:

and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; or, "out of the house of bondage"; as the same words are rendered, Exodus 20:2; that is, out of hard service, in which their lives were made bitter; out of cruel bondage and slavery; which made them cry to the Lord for help and deliverance, and he heard them, and sent them a deliverer; by whose hand he redeemed them from this base and low estate in which they were, and for which they ought ever to have been thankful, and to have shown their gratitude by their cheerful and constant obedience. Some take "the house of servants" to be descriptive, not of the state of the children of Israel in Egypt, but of the character of the Egyptians themselves; who, being the posterity of Ham, were inheritors of his curse, that he should be a servant of servants; and so it is an aggravation of the blessing, that Israel were redeemed from being servants to the servants of servants. This sense is mentioned by Kimchi and Abarbinel:

and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam; not to bring them the news of their deliverance out of Egypt, before they came out of it, as Kimchi; but to be their guides to conduct and direct them in all matters, civil and religious. Moses was their lawgiver, leader, and commander; Aaron was their priest to offer sacrifice for them, and to intercede on their behalf; and Miriam was a prophetess; and they were all very useful and beneficial to them; and a very great blessing it is to a people to have a good constitution, civil and ecclesiastic, and to have good magistrates, and good ministers of the word. The Targum is,

"I sent before thee three prophets, Moses to teach the tradition of the judgments, Aaron to make atonement for the people, and Miriam to instruct the women.''

(s) "certe", Calvin, Piscator, Tarnovius; so some in Vatablus.

For I {b} brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.

(b) I have not hurt you, but bestowed infinite benefits upon you.

4. For I brought thee up] ‘Nothing,’ is the only truthful answer to the divine question. Jehovah has indeed wonderfully assisted His people in their troubles. Nothing could extinguish the sense of the overwhelming grandeur of Israel’s first deliverance. A prophet, writing in the name of the Jewish Church of the Captivity, points back to the happy days of old, when he ‘brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of his flock’ (Isaiah 63:11).

I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam] These were the shepherds, by whom ‘God led His people like sheep’ (Psalm 77:20)—Eastern shepherds going before their sheep (John 10:4).

Verse 4. - God answers his own question by recounting some of his chief mercies to Israel. He has not burdened the people, but loaded them with benefits. I brought thee up, etc. The Exodus was the most wonderful instance of God's intervention and to it the prophets often refer (comp. Isaiah 63:11, etc.; Jeremiah 2:6; Amos 2:10). Out of the house of servants; of bondage , quoting the language of the Pentateuch, to show the greatness of the benefit (Exodus 13:3, 14; Deuteronomy 8:14, etc.). I sent before thee. As leaders of the Lord's flock (Psalm 77:20). Moses, the inspired leader, teacher, and lawgiver. Aaron, the priest, the director of Divine worship. Miriam, the prophetess, who led the praises of the people at their great deliverance (Exodus 15:20), and who probably was charged with some special mission to the women of Israel (see Numbers 12:1, 2). Micah 6:4Micah 6:3-5 open the suit. Micah 6:3. "My people! what have I done unto thee, and with what have I wearied thee? Answer me. Micah 6:4. Yea, I have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, redeemed thee out of the slave-house, and sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. Micah 6:5. My people! remember now what Balak the king of Moab consulted, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim to Gilga; that thou mayest discern the righteous acts of Jehovah." The Lord opens the contest with the question, what He has done to the nation, that it has become tired of Him. The question is founded upon the fact that Israel has fallen away from its God, or broken the covenant. This is not distinctly stated, indeed; but it is clearly implied in the expression הלאתיך, What have I done, that thou hast become weary of me? לאה, in the hiphil, to make a person weary, more particularly to weary the patience of a person, either by demands of too great severity (Isaiah 43:23), or by failing to perform one's promises (Jeremiah 2:31). ענה בי, answer against me, i.e., accuse me. God has done His people no harm, but has only conferred benefits upon them. Of these He mentions in Micah 6:4 the bringing up out of Egypt and the guidance through the Arabian desert, as being the greatest manifestations of divine grace, to which Israel owes its exaltation into a free and independent nation (cf. Amos 2:10 and Jeremiah 2:6). The kı̄ (for) may be explained from the unexpressed answer to the questions in Micah 6:3 : "Nothing that could cause dissatisfaction with me;" for I have done nothing but confer benefits upon thee. To set forth the leading up out of Egypt as such a benefit, it is described as redemption out of the house of bondage, after Exodus 20:2. Moreover, the Lord had given His people prophets, men entrusted with His counsels and enlightened by His Spirit, as leaders into the promised land: viz., Moses, with whom He talked mouth to mouth, as a friend to his friend (Numbers 12:8); and Aaron, who was not only able as high priest to ascertain the counsel and will of the Lord for the sake of the congregation, by means of the "light and right," but who also, along with Moses, represented the nation before God (Numbers 12:6; Numbers 14:5, Numbers 14:26; Numbers 16:20; Numbers 20:7 ff., and 29). Miriam, the sister of the two, is also mentioned along with them, inasmuch as she too was a prophetess (Exodus 15:20). In Micah 6:5 God also reminds them of the other great display of grace, viz., the frustration of the plan formed by the Moabitish king Balak to destroy Israel by means of the curses of Balaam (Numbers 22-24). יעץ refers to the plan which Balak concocted with the elders of Midian (Numbers 22:3 ff.); and ענה, Balaam's answering, to the sayings which this soothsayer was compelled by divine constraint to utter against his will, whereby, as Moses says in Deuteronomy 23:5-6, the Lord turned the intended curse into a blessing. The words "from Shittim (Israel's last place of encampment beyond Jordan, in the steppes of Moab; see at Numbers 22:1 and Numbers 25:1) to Gilgal" (the first place of encampment in the land of Canaan; see at Joshua 4:19-20, and Joshua 5:9) do not depend upon זכר־נא, adding a new feature to what has been mentioned already, in the sense of "think of all that took place from Shittim to Gilgal," in which case זכר־נא would have to be repeated in thought; but they are really attached to the clause וּמה עבה וגו, and indicate the result, or the confirmation of Balaam's answer. The period of Israel's journeying from Shittim to Gilgal embraces not only Balak's advice and Balaam's answer, by which the plan invented for the destruction of Israel was frustrated, but also the defeat of the Midianites, who attempted to destroy Israel by seducing it to idolatry, the miraculous crossing of the Jordan, the entrance into the promised land, and the circumcision at Gilgal, by which the generation that had grown up in the desert was received into the covenant with Jehovah, and the whole nation reinstated in its normal relation to its God. Through these acts the Lord had actually put to shame the counsel of Balak, and confirmed the fact that Balaam's answer was inspired by God.

(Note: With this view, which has already been suggested by Hengstenberg, the objections offered by Ewald, Hitzig, and others, to the genuineness of the words "from Shittim to Gilgal," the worthlessness of which has been demonstrated by Caspari, fall to the ground.)

By these divine acts Israel was to discern the tsidqōth Yehōvâh; i.e., not the mercies of Jehovah, for tsedâqâh does not mean mercy, but "the righteous acts of Jehovah," as in Judges 5:11 and 1 Samuel 12:7. This term is applied to those miraculous displays of divine omnipotence in and upon Israel, for the fulfilment of His counsel of salvation, which, as being emanations of the divine covenant faithfulness, attested the righteousness of Jehovah.

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